Type: produce, hay and general store
Years in operation: 5
Annual revenue: 100k-250k
(Average over last three years)
Sheepscot General Store & Farm is situated on 56 acres of open fields in the Sheepscot River Valley. The enterprise consists of a general store, cafe, farm, and community space. Our store carries goods from many local producers. What started with Taryn and Ben leasing the farm five years ago has grown into a successful business made up of ten employees. We are now paying the mortgage and taking our business in new directions. Currently we grow three acres of strawberries, three acres of mixed produce, a couple acres of apple trees, co-manage a sugar bush, cut about 60 acres of hay, and graze some of the neighbors' sheep and dairy cows. The store is open six days a week year around.
Inside the Farm
How is your approach to farming different than other farms in the same category?
We are filling a void that has become increasingly prevalent in rural America - a gathering space. A lot of farms in our area (We are fortunate that there are many.) are small, diversified mixed-produce operations that go to farmer's markets alongside a couple of long-established dairies. We go to one farmer's market, which we helped start, and mostly focus on getting people out to the farm. We took the classic farm-store model and have successfully integrated a contemporary general store complete with a cafe featuring products from our farm and other local producers. We put these items side by side with grocery items from larger distributors to create a wall-to-wall inventory.
How does your different approach contribute to a long-term profitable growth strategy for your farm and other small farms like yours?
Our business has steadily grown since we opened in 2011. The store is at the heart of our business. It is what drives the success of the farm and provides a retail space to showcase other farms in the area. We are able to educate our clientele about specific producers, farming practices, and the abundance of locally raised food. This contributes to the long-term profitable growth strategy for many food and agricultural enterprises in our area.
How would you specifically use a Mortgage Lifter Lift or Mini Lift?
We have a dream of building a porch on the back of the store overlooking the farm. This would not only provide additional seating for people to eat, it would connect customers to the farm. The success of the store and farm can be partly attributed to our pleasant atmosphere. The back porch has been part of our vision for many years. We like the idea of people sitting on the back porch, enjoying the freshly prepared foods from our cafe, using ingredients from the fields they see.
Please share why you are so passionate about your farm and/or farming in general.
Agriculture can provide a solid foundation to a rural community. It can and should enhance the landscape while improving the environment. It can have deep-rooted, positive social implications stemming from healthy soil and in turn healthy people, which ultimately helps to create a healthy economy.
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